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James B. Maxwell: Biography

James B. Maxwell
1968 -
Region: British Columbia

James B. Maxwell

James Maxwell is a composer of concert music and music for contemporary dance, theatre, film, and media, and is Co-Artistic Director of Restless Productions. Maxwell was born in Canada and studied composition in Vancouver with Owen Underhill and n Prague with Ladislav Kubik. He recently earned his PhD from Simon Fraser University, where he focused on a cognitively-grounded approach to the design of computer-assisted composition software. He has worked collaboratively in contemporary dance, theatre, and film, creating music for choreographers Claire French, Helen Walkley, Simone Orlando and Joe Laughlin, for director Mallory Catlett, and for film makers Alex Williams and Alison Beda. He is also interested in wider and more diverse collaborations, working with visual artist Kathleen Ritter (“Call to Order”), with writer Caleb Johnson (“Intersections”), and in collaboration with Berlin-based artists Hadley+Maxwell (Standing Wave Séance). Recent works include recurrere and emancipare, commissioned by Music On Main for “The Orpheus Project”, and ruduo for flute and piano, commissioned by the Tiresias Duo, and nihtscada for cello and bass, commissioned by Vancouver’s NOVO ensemble.

James is also active as a researcher and programmer in the field of computer applications for interactive music composition. He recently earned his PhD from Simon Fraser University, exploring the design and development of computer-assisted composition tools, with a focus on using intelligent, adaptive systems as compositional “collaborators.”


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